Karen Blixen at her desk at Rungstedlund around 1950

The home of Karen Blixen


The oldest section of the Rungstedlund estate dates from circa 1680 when the property was an inn serving travellers between Copenhagen and Elsinore. Several other famous writers have lived at Rungstedlund, such as Ludvig Holberg and Johannes Ewald. But the estate is…

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The courage to live

Time / Periode 1680
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The author Karen Blixen had astonishing mental strength. In a Belgian television interview in 1962, three months before her death, the Baroness Blixen was asked to give a few words of advice to the younger generation. She replied in impeccable French: ”Without great courage it is impossible to live. One must have the courage to love - combined with a sense of humour." The book about her life as a lover, big game hunter and coffee farmer in Africa made her world famous. But she also penned the fabled Anecdotes of Destiny; her tales of a bygone world. The message was simple: fate has assigned each of us a role; all we have to do is find and play that role. Blixen passed away, but since 1960 the some 20 or so members of the Danish Academy of Letters have held their meetings in the enchanted rooms of Rungstedlund, her former home. In 1997 they conferred the Karen Blixen Medal on Václav Havel, who fought for his country's freedom as both playwright and politician and was president of first Czechoslovakia and then the Czech Republic. Isolated from the world, he meditated with the Dalai Lama. His next visitor was persecuted fellow writer, Salman Rushdie, followed by the rock musician Frank Zappa! This was a refreshing novelty in Eastern Europe. From the mid 1990s Havel was seriously ill as a result of the torture he suffered in Communist prisons. Yet he accepted the Karen Blixen Medal. The Baroness, who liked to collect intriguing men, would no doubt have been most pleased, since a visit from an author who served both prison sentences and as a president of two nations is no everyday event.

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Stories (2)

A baroness out of Africa

Karen Blixen left Rungstedlund for the first time in 1913 at the age of 28 when she travelled to…

The courage to live

The author Karen Blixen had astonishing mental strength. In a Belgian television interview in 1962, …

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